The CCC California Conservation Corps: low pay, hard work; Stories of success and failure in corps
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What will she do after her second year in CCC? ''I might try for a job with Vision Quest (a program that tries to turn wayward youngsters around by putting them through a pioneer-style challenge). Or maybe I'll try to get on as a seasonal firefighter for the CDF (California Department of Forestry).''Skip to next paragraph
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She says she might even go to college someday.
Ted Fuller, a student now at Mount Diablo College in Pleasant Hill, Calif., was another high school achiever who passed up campus life for the outdoor challenge of the CCC.
''I lived in the same house (in suburban Pleasant Hill) for 18 years,'' Ted says. ''I wanted to see something different, and I liked being outdoors. I applied for the C's because I knew college would still be here when I got out.''
Because there was urgent need for firefighters in August 1980 when Ted entered the corps, and because he measured up physically and mentally, he was assigned immediately to a Fire Center, passing up the initial eight-week CCC training period. After a week of instruction and physical training, he found himself on a fire crew.
As his first year in the CCC drew to an end, Ted Fuller decided to apply for training as a crew leader. He was accepted and eventually found himself fighting the Medfly for Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. in the early spring of 1981.
He says he matured physically and mentally in the CCC - learned how to work and how to be a leader. ''I would do it again,'' he declares, but ''not everyone should join the CCC. It's a program for any individual who hasn't had responsibility in life - hasn't needed to do anything for himself.''
Eduardo Marin Jr. of San Diego seconds that notion, though not in such articulate fashion. Having dropped out of high school in the ninth grade, Eduardo was never able to find steady work. He finally applied to the CCC and was admitted in October 1982.
Now he works at the E-Con (Energy Conservation) center in Stockton, is ''going for my GED,'' and wants to become a specialist in the corps. That, of course, would mean a second year in the CCC.
Eduardo says he was very shy when he entered the corps, but that has been overcome to a great degree and he has gained self-confidence.
The E-Con Center is more specialized than most others. Those assigned to it learn how to conduct energy audits of homes and other structures and how to install conservation and solar-energy devices.
Even if he doesn't become a crew leader or other specialist and stay in for another year, Eduardo has a leg up on employment in the growing energy conservation field.
Back at the Bollinger Center, John Oubre talks frankly about the inevitable problems in dealing with groups of young people of varied backgrounds - and opposite sexes. Male and female housing is separate - much more so than in most colleges now - but relationships are bound to develop. Corps members are not permitted to marry and stay in the CCC, but some leave to get married or do so after serving their year.
Some men don't know how to treat women, says Oubre, particularly in a situation where they are working side by side at physical tasks. Some women become pregnant and have to be discharged from the corps.
Oubre has found it helpful to have separate sessions for the men and women occasionally ''to try to get them to see the kind of situation they are in, and the pitfalls.''
Pregnancies, ''affairs,'' and other relationships that ''get in the way of work'' have been measurably decreased, he says.
''It's just another learning and growing experience,'' Oubre concludes, and individual responsibility is ''a key, up and down the line,'' from the CCC director to the newest recruit.